Humans are fascinating, aren’t they?
I took a psychology class in college that started with 150 students, and I was one of 8 standing at the end. I was hooked enough to stay. One thing I observed is that certain environments seem to breed interesting psychology. One place I noticed this the most is in gyms.
Now, I’ve been a member of both weightlifting gyms and an MMA gym for many, many years. What’s fascinating to me about both style gyms is what preconceived notions people have about them and how it compares to what it’s actually like.
For example, MMA gyms are commonly thought of as being a breeding ground for wife-beating bullies, conjuring up images of gladiators or ex-convicts looking for a fight. But, would you believe me if I told you I have more problems with bullies at my weightlifting gym than at my MMA gym?
MMA Gyms Vs. Weightlifting Gyms
I’m not ashamed to admit it: I’m 6’2”, 230 lbs., 40 years old—and yes, I have bullies.
Maybe it’s because I’m on the tall side or perhaps it’s because I don’t look like the friendliest guy when I’m working out— but when I do encounter gym bullies, it’s usually at a weightlifting gym. olgy
My MMA gym in Arizona, however, is the exact opposite.
Now don’t get me wrong, MMA gyms are full of the toughest people on the planet. The big news is some of the more innocent-looking ones are the ones that will hand you your ego in a pail. Despite this, when you walk into my gym everyone is always polite and says hello. If you miss a practice, you’re met with about 30 texts asking if you’re okay. There’s a general air of respect and community at these types of gyms.
So why is this then? Why are there so many incidents at weightlifting gyms where people seem to seek out fights instead of focusing on their workout? Why do specialized gyms like MMA gyms seem to be full of the nicest people you’ve ever met?
Now take this theory for what it is: a loosely based theory…Do you remember the days of dueling? Can you imagine your next episode of road rage being met with a white glove slap and an offer to duel as a way to settle the aggression? Or maybe walking into a bar and bumping into someone without apologizing? In the distant past, that kind of behavior could be met with being asked to go to the street with pistols at high noon!
So do manners come from the threat of an ass-kicking or dueling at high noon? Is that why we read about how polite people were in the old days? Let’s hope that’s not the case, but, one thing is for sure: Training martial arts is something you will never regret.
Why MMA and Boxing Gyms are Great for Self-Defense: Bullies Beware.
If you lack basic respect and manners for those around you, MMA gyms may not be a good fit. When you join you sign a waiver, and trust me, wanna-be tough guy bullies don’t last long at these gyms. But, if you’re there to learn, you’ll be shown all the hospitality and respect a gym can provide.
Training martial arts is like having a loaded gun you hope to never use. But it also comes with an obligation to society to be the bigger person in any given high-stress or hostile situation. You’ll quickly learn that a non-trained person has zero chance against a trained person, and it’s much better to have that kind of protection for yourself. It also builds this wonderful tool in your head. You could care less about a bully.
Joining an MMA Gym
I know it’s scary for some people to even enter an MMA or boxing gym. Some might even have gym anxiety. It can be especially hard for kids, older folks, or people with low self-confidence to take the steps to learn more about MMA. However, if you or someone you know needs to build some self-confidence or wants to learn the best martial art for self-defense, I highly suggest you take this leap of faith.
Train With Me
If you are too afraid to take the first step on your own and I’m in the area, I will actually go in and train with you to help you on your first day. Feel free to get in touch.